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Archive for Chronic Disease

Marijuana Smoking teen problem in, Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco, Napa, Wanut Creek, Orinda, Danville, Lafayette, whole Bay Area – 1st Step Interventions

Marijuana Smoking in the group of adolescent children who are minors in Junior and Senior High School is a REAL PROBLEM in all Bay Area Cities and Counties. – Marin, Sonoma, Napa, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento,San Joaquin etc. All of our Cities such as Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Novato, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Napa, St Helena, Danville, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Lafayette, Berkeley, San Jose Santa Cruz and on and on.


The scariest thing is we really should not be calling it the same drug name we used in the ’70’s. Pot is 7 time plus more powerful than it was then. It would be like making beer 80 proof like vodka (instead of it’s 6% alcohol content) and still calling it Beer – that would be crazy, but it is what we do.

So our children and young adults in our families are smoking super strong Psychoactive substances while their young brains are still growing and the result is damage to their brains. A recent study shows that cessation, if the user stops using pot the Brain does not return to a normal pre-damaged state. This is really scary. If we allow our children or young 21 year old family memmber to smoke pot on a regular basis, they are damaging their brain, their memory, attention, ability to think abstractly etc.. and this damage is permanent.

As Parents and law abiding caring citizens we need to risk talking to our young human cohorts, family members or children about the dangers of regular smoking of marijuana. I know personally of one 15 year old I have worked with who took a math test high on week and got a 48 the next week not high he took the same test and got an 88. the only difference was marijuana.

Take the time to know what your children are doing, be involved with your older kids.If you see Pot smoking speak up and be willing to tell them the truth of what you are seeing and the dangers. If you are smoking be willing to change your behaviors to help your children. We have a large population now of young adults who are suffering with flat affects and who are having difficulty launching into life. Of course and unfortunately if they are addicts their solution is to smoke more pot and just make the situations worse as it is a Chronic Disease and Expert Intervention

Many Parents themselves smoke Pot and need to get out of the mind set that it is harmless to their children. They need to realize IT IS a different drug and that they (the parents)may only be smoking a hit of pot), but their children are smoking far more than that and the results are not positive and hurting their children and their chances at a good life. If their child is also suffering from Addiction then the results are going to be far worse and without Recovery. If you are a Parent reading this and think you need help feel free to call us we offer a free assessment and can help you,

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San Francisco’s Heroin Problem – A snp shot of the United States – 1st Step Interventions


I just recently wrote about the Heroin Problem in San Francisco and the availability of higher grade Heroin such as “Gunpowder” Heroin, a stronger form of Heroin than its cousin Black Tar. It seems Cities and Counties across the United States, some more landlocked than other are facing a similar epidemic. Recently reported in the Behavioral Healthcare Newsletter was an article on a “full blown heroin crisis in Vermont”. The last I check Vermont is a land locked State with no ports to the open ocean, therefore the heroin is making its way inland without the use of ports. The point of the article is that it costs 1,000 plus per day to lock up a heroin offender in prison in the State of Vermont, but on;y $100 a day to afford them treatment for their Disease of Addiction. 80% of the offenders in Vermont Prisons are there for drug offenses and addiction and the State spend more on these offenders than it does sending students to state funded Colleges.

success failureI don’t pretend to know the answer, but at 1st step Interventions and Addiction Care Management we believe that addiction is a Disease and you would no more lock up someone with diabetes as you would with an other Chronic Illness. Treatment works as a first line of offense against the Disease of Addiction, but it cannot be the only line of offense. We need to look at more and more Professional long term interactions with newly Sober individuals to ensure compliance with medical and treatment recommendations; similar to the way you would any other Chronic Illness. We also need to stop criminalizing the Addict caught in the throws of addiction. It is far too easy to look at them and say it is their fault and they need to pull their bootstraps up = but it is not that simplistic. Addiction is a Brain Disease with a Brain disorder  that causes a craving and thus the addict will do things against their better conscience and will to fulfill their craving.

At 1st step Interventions and Addiction Care Management we believe and have seen hundreds of times full blown addicts get their life’s back and go on  to live full lives full of greatness. It all starts with a Family willing to step out of their codependency and with the help of  1st Ste put an Intervention Plan together and then once the Addict has finished treatment they usually hire on Addiction Care management to ensure their Continuing Care Plan is being followed and there is accountability.

The combination of a Professional Intervention, good Treatment and a solid Addiction Care Management plan ensures success and the addict and families can get back to their lives. Call Today your first assessment is free 707-559-5146

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Addiction is a Chronic Disease and we need to overhaul The Treatment Industry to Finally Address it

**Like other chronic medical illnesses, substance use disorders have biological, social and behavioral components; and effective management of the disease requires attention to each of these pieces (similar to Type-II Diabetes).

**A recent call from a family member of a patient illustrates just how bad the situation is. This call was from a very senior level executive at a prestigious medical school, asking for advice on how to help his 26 year old son who has a serious heroin addiction. The son had been through five residential treatment programs over the past several years, at a cost to the family of over $150,000. In this case, he was literally too ashamed to contact one of his own organization’s physicians.  This extraordinary degree of stigma and sense of isolation that families still experience is unjustified and incapacitating. The second thing that troubles me about this interaction is that although his son had been to five residential treatment programs, he was unaware that there were any FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid dependence. No treatment program had informed him or his son about these treatments, even in the face of repeated, potentially deadly relapses. This is not simply inappropriate – it is unethical.

**It is time and it is possible for individuals with emerging substance use disorders to have all available medical facts associated with the progression of addictive disease; to receive full disclosure and information about all evidence-based treatment options for their condition; and to have full access to all evidence-based therapies, medications and services. I am hopeful that the Affordable Care Act and the Parity Legislation together will create basic fairness for individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction. But if those landmark pieces of legislation are not enough, it will be time to stand together to demand the already available health benefits for the prevention and treatment of substance use.

Treatment has boxed itself into a corner. Centers have created a myth that if you send your loved one to us they will be fixed. Therefore, they charge astronomical fees essentially zapping a Families resources and then give us recovery rates as bad as only 15% getting well (number vary, but the “real” norm amongst honest Industry Therapists and Executives is between 10% & 20% don’t relapse after Treatment). If we made tires and 8 out of 10 failed new we would be out of business. It is also time to stop blaming the diseased individual and say “they were not ready” or “They didn’t do the work”. Programs need to step up to the plate and start realizing that what Treatment does is 4 things.

  • Detox
  • Stabilization
  • Hopefully open the Patient to the notion and ability to speak about themselves in an honest fashion without wearing a mask.
  • Provide a long-term Continuing Care Plan that includes Addiction Care Management.

Treatment Centers needs to lower their costs so that Families have the funds to afford other resources that are necessary for long-term recovery. Things like a Addiction Care Specialist that can assist in keeping all the pieces moving forward, provide accountability that the Addict is following through, bring in other resources such as Therapists, financial planners, Marriage Counselors etc.. as needed over the long haul.

Addiction is a Chronic Illness and like other Chronic Illnesses, like my 11 year old niece – diagnosed with Type I Diabetes since 4, there are multiple interactions with Professionals over time (it has been 7 years for her) to make sure she is accountable, the course of Treatment is working, her Parents are getting support and as she gets older she is educated more and more on what she needs to know. This is no different than the Model that needs to be developed for the Treatment of Addiction. It is already there for Diabetes and other Chronic Illnesses, all we have to do is take what works and leave the rest.

Addiction Care Management   www.addictioncaremanagement.comis a step in the right direction but more needs to be done by Centers who need to take their heads out of the sand and see what is traditionally the way of doing things is not working. A Continuing Care Plan where you hands a Patient an AA Schedule, tell them to do 90 meetings in 90 days, get a Sponsor, work the steps, Help others, Trust god and maybe get a Therapist with no other help is archaic and a broken model.

**Treating addiction as a chronic disease – how do we get from here to there? July 2, 2013 by A. Thomas McLellan – Addiction Professional Magazine